The Joys of Black Garlic! A True Delicacy for the Discerning Palette
While black garlic originated in Korea, it is now sweeping across the nation, amazing everyone who tastes it. It is mostly used in gourmet foods cooked in upscale restaurants or seen on gourmet cooking shows (Iron Chef, Food Network, Top Chef New York), but the tasty treat should also have a place in your home. It’s sweet caramelized flavor and qualities will make you forget all of worst things about garlic.
Garlic has a rich history steeped in medicinal lore and often lauded for its health benefits. Many studies have shown its antibacterial effects and anti-fungal properties. Black garlic on the other hand, has also been around awhile and it was even rumored to grant immortality in Taoism mythology. But recently, since the Japanese Government Food Development Centre analyzed black garlic in 2005, black garlic has taken over as a superfood. It contains 17 times higher antioxidants than regular garlic, and also contains the natural compound S-Allycysteine that can help prevent cancer. Since then, Japan has shifted their technology to China, which is the largest producer of black garlic in the world. But that doesn't mean black garlic hasn't migrated to the states. The Korean company Black Garlic also distributes black garlic in the United States and is based in Hayward, California. That means enough black garlic to go around!
Black garlic has a long cooking process that might not be so easy to make at home. Scott Kim, the owner of Black Garlic Company in California has a patent on his black garlic process and his machine. However, the process is similar as it is made by heating bulbs of fresh peeled garlic cloves over the course of several weeks, letting them cool for a week, and the end result is the black garlic cloves. The garlic cloves come out black because the garlic contains sugars and amino acids that produce Melanoidin- a dark colored substance that makes what would be white black garlic into what we know as black garlic. Many refer to this extended process as fermentation, but no microbial action takes place inside the process. Surprisingly, black garlic doesn't need any additives and mostly relies on the cooking process. Aging black garlic is what creates the extra nutrients because there are additional Polyphenol compound presences. When you look at black garlic you might be disgusted, but nothing about the end product is rotten- just aged.
Black garlic can be used for a variety of things. It has a versatile flavor that contains hints of molasses and balsamic vinegar. The jelly-like consistency is similar to soft dried fruit and when prepared perfectly, it can melt in your mouth. It can be ground up into puree or sauces, and it’s great on pizza. The soft texture of the garlic molds perfectly with steaming cheese. Or you can slice it up and top of a Bruschetta. You can even slice it up and serve it on a salad!
Black garlic is a relatively new food in terms of modern culinary acceptance. While garlic has been around since the beginning of recorder history, and black garlic might have existed prior; I think a new age is upon us with black garlic production and it is one that looks tasty, healthy, and exotic.
To enjoy delicious black garlic try this garlic peeling trick!